Actually, in the three summers that I've been going to Lily Dale, I see almost no change in it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as they say. It is still the calmest place I know.
The entrance fee of ten dollars per day is probably the best ten dollars I ever spend. It guarantees all of the events of the day that are on the regular schedule. The schedule is full.
Jane and I made sure we were in Lily Dale ahead of the 10:30 Healing Service, which is an actual laying on of hands by healers. It is one of the most emotional events of the day, as we feel the love of these healers as they gently touch and whisper to us. I always cry, knowing that I am being healed of my grief. As you leave, with a donation, you can take a ribbon and write the name of loved ones who are in need of prayers. Those are tied to a "Peace Tree" outside of the temple, and prayers are given for all of those people for the rest of the season. Jane and I left a number of ribbons behind, both pastels and American Flag ribbons.
|Healing Temple with Peace Tree|
For the next hour or so, I gave Jane the Lily Dale tour, which takes awhile to walk, but once you've walked around the little town, you know your way around pretty well. It helps to get bearings so you are on time for the events. We shopped at the Bargain Store and the Crystal Cove while we had some time, then got a wrap sandwich at the Island.
|Cup o' Joe|
|Cup o' Joe Front Porch|
Remember, Lily Dale is a Spiritual Center, and many mediums practice there. I opted not to have a private reading this year, depending instead on the group sessions. I was not disappointed. You may not be disappointed, either. There are three group sessions throughout each day. Inspiration Stump is the remains of a large evergreen tree that fell during a storm. Speakers and mediums have delivered messages there, on the concrete topping on the stump, for many, many years. There are two services at Inspiration Stump, one at 1:00 and one at 5:30. At 4:00 there is a Message Service at the Forest Temple. Both are outdoor venues with lots of seats.
|Seating area at Inspiration Stump|
These services are extremely well-organized. One medium is the host or hostess, and calls up other mediums during the hour to give on-the-spot readings. Some are "registered mediums" in Lily Dale, meaning that they are allowed to also give private readings on the grounds. Some are "visiting mediums," which means they are visiting in Lily Dale for the time being, and others are "student mediums," which means that they are honing their skills and learning how to use their gifts. We were told to be kind to the students in particular, as it is hard to speak in front of a group, and much harder to speak when you don't know what you are going to say! I will say that my message was delivered by a "student medium," and the student was pretty amazing, so don't discount the abilities of a student!
In the evening, since we were there on a Monday, there was to be "Monday Night Circle," and Jane and I saw people lined up outside of the auditorium on lawn chairs at about 6:00 PM. This weekly event involves many mediums with four people in a group, and each person receives a personal reading, for $15 per person. The Circles didn't start until 8:00, so we were amazed by the long line! Instead of joining it, we went to see about the room we had booked for the night. This was probably our undoing, as when we came back to get in line, telling each other, "If we are meant to be in there, we will get in, and if not, it is not supposed to happen." Apparently we were not meant to attend the Monday Circles, but the interesting thing, which I believe exemplifies the peace in Lily Dale, is that when about twenty-two of us were told that it was a full house, we all (and I mean all) continued the conversations we had been having in the line, wished each other a good experience, and left without any upset behavior displayed. (Maybe they had all said the same thing that Jane and I had said.)
|Peace at the lake|
We attended every single "event" on the schedule for the first day and half of the second day, before we left for home. On entry, you are given a book of events and the entire schedule for the summer season. Lily Dale is only "open" during the summer, and this year will close on Sept. 2. Given an opportunity, I would go back again before then.
|Honor System Vegetables|
Our lodging for the night was at a guest house called a cottage on the lake. I sent a check some weeks ahead, and was told that there was a "guest kitchen" and air conditioning. Due to the extreme heat of this summer, I was primarily in search of air conditioning. As it turned out, in order to take advantage of the A/C, we had to leave the door to our room open all night, as the window unit was in the hallway. This was OK, as we knew that anybody else who was there was there for the same reasons we were, and we were not likely to be robbed or beaten. The bathroom, while huge, required that we use a big old-fashioned bath tub if we wanted to get clean. As I had lived in a home for many years with a tub just like that, it didn't bother me to hop right in, but I noticed that others refrained from bathing until they went home. We never did see the "guest kitchen," as our hostess told us how to sign in, but we did not see her again while we were there, and did not know how to find it.